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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
March 23, 2018


“They're somewhat like the lowest of forms of plant and animal life. Even at their highest point of vitality there is not much life in them. On the other hand, they don't die.”

Eugene J. McCarthy, on the nature of the republican party.

John Bolton is, of course, a form of fungus that grows in the darkness of ethical decay within the party that Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy – a candidate in the 1968 presidential primary – spoke of in the above quote. As a rabid neoconservative who played an important role in promoting the Bush-Cheney military invasion and occupation of Iraq, there is no good reason for him to play any role in government today. In fact, there are numerous good reasons that he should not.

In case anyone has forgotten the details of exactly why Bolton is a terrible human being, I thought I'd review a bit of information to remind us. I'll briefly mention some of the criminals and crimes he is associated with, using David Corn and Michael Isikoff's 2006 book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War” (Crown Publishers).

Bolton was a big supporter of Laurie Mylroie, an “expert” on terrorism who makes Alex Jones look calm and stable. Her theories included that Saddam was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11 (pages 66 – 76). He was one of the authors of the Project for a New American Century (pg 78). He was behind the horrible “intelligence” operation, tasking jackasses like David Wurmser to find “proof” of Iraq's role in 9/11 for VP Cheney (pg 111). He trusted and promoted sociopaths like Chalabi and “Curveball” (pg 163). And he was connected by the roots with Judith Miller, turning orange in Aspen in the fall (pg 390).

During the 2016 presidential campaign, of course, Donald Trump spoke about his opposition to the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq. The majority of people knew he was lying. But his alt-right supporters ate it up, because their hatred of neoconservatives blinded them to the fact that Trump was serving them a plate of shit. It is unlikely that the appointment of Bolton will phase them.

“Andrea:'Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.'
Galileo: No, Andrea. 'Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.'

Bertolt Brecht, “Galileo.”

After finishing Corn and Isikoff's new book, “Russian Roulette,” I am confident that Mr. Mueller has enough information to indict numerous more criminals from within the Trump campaign and administration, including Trump himself. I understand why he and his team are advancing at the rate they are. But I wish that the process would kick into the highest gear now. And I know that almost everyone here and around the world feel the same.

There is no evidence that the current republican Congress – the House of Representatives and Senate – has the inclination or ability to say “No!” to Trump. Thus, we do not have the luxury of sitting back, and waiting for Mr. Mueller. We need to be active participants in our constitutional democracy. That includes working to elect Democrats this fall. And it also includes exercising those rights defined in Amendment 1.

March 21, 2018

"Russian Roulette"

Is anyone else reading David Corn and Michael Isikoff's new book, “Russian Roulette,” about the Trump-Russian scandal? I just got it tonight, and am extremely impressed with it. I think it is a valuable read for anyone and everyone interested in restoring our constitutional democracy. That includes, of course, members of the Democratic Party.

I wish that some republicans would read it, too. Especially those elected to represent citizens, and to uphold their oath of office and protect the Constitution.

In fact, I think the federal prosecutors should have jurors read it.

What's funny is to think that Mr. Mueller is fully aware of all that is detailed in the book …..and that he knows even more.

March 20, 2018

Beyond Good and Evil

In my last essay, I attempted to define both the limits and the dangers of Donald Trump's thinking. For sake of discussion, I shall attempt to summarize in a couple sentences:

“People who love me are good; people who hate me are evil.”

Likewise, those who watch Fox News are good, in his mind, and those who watch MSNBC or CNN are bad. Very bad. And very bad people must be punished severely, so that they don't dare disagree publicly with Trump.

Among the many things Trump is wrong about is his belief that there is no middle ground. There are a lot of Americans who have been so marginalized by society, that they don't believe their voices can make any real difference. There are so many of these people, in fact, that they could determine the outcome of elections. Yet, life has convinced them otherwise.

There's also another group that includes people who supported Trump before, but do not now. I'm not suggesting that they are ever “friends” of the Democratic Party. Some of them are very bad people, which is why they liked Trump, and he liked them. General Flynn comes to mind. An even more repulsive example is Jeff Sessions.

Sessions is a liar by nature, and willing to violate the Constitution when it fits his purposes. Hence, Trump tapped him for Attorney General. However, Senator Al Franken played him at his confirmation hearings, and Sessions was forced to recuse himself from anything having to do with the investigation into the 2016 election. This infuriated Trump, of course, and led to Session's playing a role in the firing of James Comey. And that resulted in Trump's unforced error in the Lester Holt interview.

Another Trump appointee, Rod Rosenstein (who likwise played a role in the firing of Mr. Comey), then appointed Robert Mueller. This is how, in Trump's mind, good people become evil. Trump had fully expected both Sessions and Rosenstein to serve as his versions of Roy Cohn, a man certainly burning in hell if there was such a place. Either way, Mr. Mueller's investigation quickly began to heat up.

Month after month, we have witnessed Trump's frustration over not being able to stop Mr. Mueller's intense investigation. Indictment after indictment, guilty plea after guilty plea, the investigation has closed in upon Trump and his family. Trump's incorrect belief that a president's crimes become legal upon his being sworn in resulted in his search for someone – anyone – to blame for his troubles.

Trump was eventually able to hire lawyers willing to defend him, after being turned down by those most qualified. His legal team recommended that he not try to fire Mr. Mueller, and assured him the investigation would be over by Thanksgiving. Then Christmas, etc. Instead, the flames kept moving closer and closer to Donald and Jared.

In Trump's mind, h legal team was “weak,” not able to prove a president can break any law he finds annoying. This darned witch hunt was going too far. As he retreated deeper and deeper into the decay of his troubled mind, Trump realized he needed to fire those formerly “good” people, such as Jeff Sessions. Thus, he turned to the intellectual cheerleaders at Fox News.

A plan was made to use mobster Joseph “da degenerate” diGenova to serve as a hit man on the truth. Joseph began playing a lawyer on television, specifically Fox, laying out a grand conspiracy theory of FBI corruption as mean and nasty as that of Chaos on “Get Smart.” He would serve as the “fire” in coordination with Jay Sekulow's “brimstone” in the effort to save Trump from impeachment and criminal charges.

Joseph coordinated with the Trump team, knowing an IG report would provide opportunity to force Sessions's hand regarding Andrew McCabe. They hoped Sessions would refuse to fire McCabe, thus justifying Trump's desire to fire Sessions. Thus, he could appoint someone who would take control of the Mueller investigation from Rosenstein. Genius.

What they did not anticipate was that Sessions and others were aware of this plot. Hence, the infamous dinner with Sessions, Rosenstein, and Noel Franscisco a few weeks back. Nor did Trump and friends realize that through Rosenstein, that Robert Mueller was fully informed on this plot. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we seek to deceive.

Shortly after Sessions fired McCabe, Trump added his degenerate hit man to his legal team. The two sane lawyers were engaged in negotiations with Team Mueller – including at least one face-to-face meeting – regarding the questions that will be posed to Trump. And the pair told Trump after this meeting that he cannot bullshit Mr. Mueller.

Thus, we have an enraged Donald Trump, seeking to punish anyone and everyone who fails to proclaim his honesty and integrity. This has spilled over and created an even more toxic environment in the White House, and sent ripples of poison throughout the administration. Like Sessions, many of those serving Trump were willing participants, up unto the point where they recognized that Team Mueller was looking closely at them. Then, in Trump's mind, they transformed from good to evil.

Tighten your seat belt, Donald, for the road ahead is bumpy. The path you are on goes beyond your concepts of good and evil, with a destination of justice straight ahead.

H2O Man

March 17, 2018

Trump Today

What types of thoughts take place within the dim regions of Donald Trump's mind? I try not to ponder this too often, but have found myself questioning it today. Obviously, this is a man who will never encounter a philosophical thought, nor consider the ethical or moral implications of his behaviors. Thus, it is safe to limit the full range of neurological impulses between his ears to the spectrum of emotional needs. These needs require immediate gratification once they elevate above a remarkably low bar.

It's not as if our nation hasn't endured presidents who were of low character, or who had episodes of mental illness. Trump is distinct from them, in that he combines severe character pathology that results in his being unhinged on a daily basis. More, his thinking demands that his conscious focus be limited to stimulating ideas of how great he is. This includes, of course, his disgusting, compulsive need to try to damage anyone he views as an enemy.

Evidence of his inability to conceive of others as human being, with all that implies, he instead starts by examining if the other person is one of a status and appearance he respects. Unlike any previous president, Trump has never given an intelligent, thought-provoking speech (or response to a reporter's question). Likewise, he is incapable of giving a sincere compliment to anyone that he does not exercise ultimate control over. But he has frequently insulted any one of a wide range of people – including some current and former members of his administration. This reflects his shallow of his core being, and his inability to see others as distinct from a projection of himself, there only to meet his needs.

When one of the people that Trump thinks he controls does anything he considers a challenge to his self-image, he seeks to harm them. This can be by insulting them in public, or firing them. If a person he doesn't control poses a challenge, he starts with insults, and escalates to trying to damage or destroy them. This has included failure to pay people, filing law suits, as well as coordinating with the Russian mafia to “win” an election.

We have witnessed what many have accurately described as the “reality show presidency.” He insults and fires everyone who disagrees with him publicly, while attempting to protect those who not only should never been hired, but should be fired. More, he does this in a way that is harmful to himself, and obviously damaging to the United States.

As the pressure from the Trump-Russian scandal investigation tightens, Trump is increasingly unstable. Add the Stormy Daniels business – there are things he fears being exposed, such as photographs and a film – and that is enough to take the fuzz right off his peach. His self-image of being “greater” in bed than any male porn star could be shattered if that film hits the internet. Then add the anticipated loses in the November elections. Trump's show is at risk of being canceled.

Thus, we can expect the next two weeks to be increasingly out of control. That will be upsetting to normal people. Yet, all of it must come to pass, for his administration to fully implode.

I trust Mr. Mueller and his team. Yet, we need not be spectators. No, we are citizens. So let's get to work. Prepare for the mid-term elections. In some districts and states, that means identifying what Democratic candidate is most likely to win. She/he might be conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive – one size doesn't fit all. But we can, and must, create a Democratic tidal wave, to wash the rot out of Washington. That is our duty to our nation.

H2O Man

March 13, 2018

The On-Going Struggle

“....George Wiley, founder and executive director of the National Welfare Rights Organization, was the first black scholar to earn an Ivy League doctorate in chemistry. Squeezed out of CORE, he considered a position at SCLC before launching NWRO with foundation grants, and (Bernard) Lafayette knew Wiley orchestrated this confrontation to promote his grassroots constituency of welfare recipients. ….Wiley soon wrote (Andrew) Young with bargaining terms for a few NWRO women to join the camp-in against poverty.”

--Taylor Branch; At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68; Simon & Schuster; 2006; page 687.

One of the most important struggles in American history involves the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. Obviously, that struggle is not over – in fact, racism is on the rise today. It combines with other, closely related “-isms” that create a synergy that threatens the fabric of our society. Thus, I think it is important for us today, to study the Civil Rights movement, to learn how it was part of the political, economic, and health systems. And to understand what was successful, and what dynamics made it less successful.

I like to look at any group of people, large or small, in the context of a system. In this case, it was a large, diverse system, with numerous sub-systems. These sub-systems sometimes coordinated efforts, and at other times, experienced divisions due to tensions caused by personality, differences in tactics, and distinct goals. There were differences, for example, in the general experiences of black people living in the rural south, and those living in urban settings in the north.

More, there were sometimes differences between established Civil Rights organizations. For example, the NAACP leadership believed that the SCLC often started campaigns without adequate funding, and then pressured the NAACP for emergency financial assistance. Yet, when such groups worked together, they were able to achieve their greatest victories.

There were also separatist groups that did not support the concept of integration. The best example, of course, was the Nation of Islam. The NOI was a marginal group, with under 1,000 members, before Minister Malcolm X expanded it into a national organization. The NOI refused to participate in the Civil Rights movement. (Between 1964-65, after leaving the NOI, Malcolm began to support the movement, though he sought to expand it to a global human rights campaign.)

It's important to note that the Civil Rights movement was not exclusively black. There were, at various times, linkages to foundations for financial support, as well as other contributions and support from numerous other individuals, including clergy. The movement was opposed not only by racists, but by financial interests that exploited the racist system, and the political puppets they employed.

The Civil Rights movement was fluid, and ever changing. It adjusted to a variety of circumstances. For example, many of the leaders had been republicans before the 1960 presidential election. When candidate John Kennedy reached out to Coretta Scott King when Martin was in jail, it led not only to the black vote putting Kennedy in the White House, it led to a significant shift in the two parties. President Johnson noted this change while signing Civil Rights bills: the southern Dixiecrats moved to the republican party.

Dr. King would have more enemies when, in 1967, he not only came out against the war in Vietnam, but connected it to racism in the USA. He was assassinated while planning his 1969 Poop Peoples Campaign. This planned campaign was, of course, influenced by George Wiley. Both leaders understood that poverty in America was linked with racism. And both understood that a system that capitalizes upon poverty damages the lives of people of all races.

The Civil Rights movement had many victories. These included legislation and court cases, but perhaps the most important thing was that it changed the way people saw themselves and others. It contributed to other movements, including the anti-war, the women's liberation, and the environmental movements. Yet, as Justice Felix Frankfurter noted, “history has its own chains.” None of these movements is “won” like a sporting event. They are, by definition, on-going struggles that each generation faces and experiences.

We still have racism today. Some of it is individual, some groups, and some of it is systems-based. The same with sexism. Same with the economic warfare within the USA. The environment is at risk. There are wars. Tensions between religions is real. We still do not have a realistic, humane immigration policy. A war on public education. And on and on. These are all connected.

Perhaps it would be best, at this point, for Democrats to recognize that there are different points of view, and even different values, within the Party. These are rooted in life experiences. Most poor people view the country in a manner distinct from wealthy people. Young adults often interpret events a bit different than older folks. People of different races and ethnic groups tend to experience life differently than other races and ethnic groups. Men and women are different. We are all equal, but not exact. And that is as much as potential strength, as a potential stumbling block.

Dr. King knew that to achieve peace – which is necessary for progress – we need to be able to talk with those who think differently, including our enemies. Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley ended up not only talking, but actually developing mutual respect. South Africa explored Reconciliation. As the old saying goes, mercy adds power to justice. If Ireland and South Africa could travel this path towards social justice, we can, too. First, we must open our minds.


March 7, 2018

Maya Wiley

Today, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of family and friends about events involving the investigation into the Trump-Russian scandal. In each case, the specific topic we focused upon was Dam Nunberg's numerous television appearances yesterday. And, by no coincidence, each person I spoke with asked me if I had watched Maya Wiley's ability to speak gently, yet firmly, to Mr. Nunberg? Indeed, I had – and not for the first time was I extremely impressed with Ms. Wiley.

So I e-mailed Ms. Wiley to express the appreciation that my family, friends, and I feel. And in a short time, I heard back from Maya! I then asked her if it would be okay if I shared her message here, as well as with my daughter. She replied, and so here goes:

“Thank you so very much for the kind words, Mr. McElligott. I believe that we all must find the humanity Trump sometimes wrongly makes us feel is lost! It's only lost if we lose it! And I feel in such wonderful company! Thank you so much for being part of that company.

Now, if that didn't make my day! Showed my sons, and I'll show my daughters, too. The older one works on immigration at a Boston law firm, and the younger one is part of a social-political activist group at an upstate college. And Maya Wiley is exactly the type of role model that young women benefit the most from.

I know that Maya's father, George Wiley, was a civil rights activist, who inspired her to fight the Good Fight. So I was reminded of part of a chapter for a book on the power of compassion and forgiveness by a Binghamton University professor, that I assisted Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in contributing:

“Hate can only produce hate. That's why all these wars are going on, all this insanity. There's too much anger in the U.S. People are too afraid, too numbed out. We need to wipe out all of this hatred, fear, distrust, and violence. We need to understand, forgive, and love.” (2001)


March 6, 2018

Two Nunberg Questions

Regarding Sam Nunberg:

(1) Do you think he'll “calm down” and appear before the grand jury on Friday?
(2) Why do you think he is in a panic, saying that he will refuse to cooperate?

There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Only opinions.

H2O Man
March 5, 2018

Trump Today

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.....
William Butler Yeats; The Second Coming; 1919.

Like many people, I keep up on the “news” by watching various television sources, and reading newspapers, books, and things on the internet. These often provide a wide range of opinions, or interpretations of the news. I've never sought to limit myself to exposure to opinions that I agree with.

There are numerous topics other than news about current events that I explore through television, books, and the internet. The evolution of life on Earth, archaeology, anthropology, the environment, sociology, psychology, and U.S. political history are all fascinating fields of study. Being retired allows me the opportunity to go at my own pace, satisfied in recognizing that I can only cover a tiny fraction of what is known about such topics. “It's a small world, but you can't eat in every restaurant,” a high school girlfriend once told me.

Like all human beings, I am a product of genetics and environment. (In fact, all organic life on and of Earth is. Genetics and environment are like the yellow and blue that combine to create green life.) So my limited understanding of life around me – and thus, my opinions about issues such as the current administration – are going to naturally different than other people's. And that's a good thing, because if we were all the same, humankind would soon degenerate.

We are currently spectators of the process of a type of degeneration taking place within the White House. Considering that the current administration was largely populated by corrupt figures to begin with, this is hardly surprising. And the decay brings to mind the old saying that a fish rots from the head down – for Donald Trump is a degenerate.

“It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings,” Sandra O'Connor Day noted in March of 2006. A curious comment from one who selected Bush-Cheney in 2000, but true, nevertheless.

The list of people shed by the administration in thirteen month's time continues to grow. The combined slimy group has been hung out to dry, like a snake skin that still bears the stench of Trump. We have yet to see a single person leave due to conscience ….for this White House lacks conscience.

The presidency creates something of a bubble for every person in that position, even in the best case scenarios. As everyone knows, Trump has become more isolated – both physically and emotionally – within the White House over the past few days. Hence, his outburst about tariffs. I heard on critic on television say that since Trump has damaged everything domestically, he is now targeting foreign affairs. I think most of the world's people are convinced that he has damaged international relations since he was a candidate.

Trump's personality make-up – his character, resulting from genetics and environment – does not due well in isolation. This is particularly true when he is under pressure. Indeed, any one thing (for example, being made fun of on SNL) will fester in his mind, until he lashes out. This obvious lack of impulse-control is because his outbursts come not from his brain's frontal lobes, but rather, from the reptilian stem of the brain. Trump in isolation rapidly becomes a lizard, attacking imaginary flies.

When the perceived insults add up, they create a synergy. Thus, the president who boasts of being a “counter-puncher” becomes enraged when Jeff Sessions counter-punches him, by dining with the president's “enemies.” And no enemy poses as much of a threat of Robert Mueller. Reports indicate that Trump is willing to shed Ivanka and Jared from his White House, sacrificing them in a feeble effort to protect himself. (Reptiles are not noted for their parenting.) This intensifies the isolation.

The danger is obvious. Everyone on this forum already recognizes this. Trump will surely seek to increase both domestic and international tensions – in an effort to protect himself from the inevitable. His brain-dead followers are likely to crawl out from under their rocks, and react from their own reptilian impulses. These are the ones Trump has called “good people.” Petty dictators – and Trump is by definition petty – try to use such unrest to clamp down on their opposition with “emergency actions.”

To counter this possibility, it is vital that we focus upon the methods described in the Bill of Rights' Amendment 1, and in preparing for the 2018 elections. There is a great battle at hand. Let's kick their asses.

Peace, H2O Man

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